Bengals claw past Blazers

Feb. 4, 2008, midnight | By Susie Branson | 13 years, 9 months ago

Another close game bounces past boys' basketball


In their twelfth straight loss of the season, the varsity boy's basketball team brought their spiraling record to an embarrassing 2-12, falling to the Blake Bengals in yet another heartbreakingly-close match, 50-48.

Despite the team's losing record, it was not Blair's lack of motivation or passion that put the win just out of reach, but instead small technicalities that eventually came back to bite them where it hurt the most. "It's just hard that as a team we have had to learn on the court," said coach Mark DeStefano. "We're learning as we go."

Blair opened against the Bengals with a few adjustments in the starting lineup, hoping to refresh the team's chemistry. But while the Blazers readjusted to the new dynamic, the Bengals jumped to an early lead of 11-6 as Blair's scattered defense and uncoordinated passes resulted in repeated turnovers. Blake harped upon every Blazer hiccup, taking advantage of these turnovers every time.

However, what the Blazers lacked in transition, they made up for it in rebounds, particularly senior center Issy Melton who led the game with 20 points. These hard-earned baskets brought the Blazers back into the game at 11-10 until the Bengals fought back with two flashy three-pointers. With less than a minute left in the quarter, senior guard and co-captain Milton Colquehoun kept Blair in the game by hitting a three in the last 25 seconds to finish the quarter down 17-13.

Still coming off the high from Colquehoun's last miraculous basket, a newly revived team stepped onto the court as the second quarter began. Melton and senior guard Joe Dubuche led the way as both put a basket past the Bengals to tie the game for the first time at 17-17.

However, this performance was just a tease, as the Bengals stole the lead. The remainder of the quarter was plagued with fouls from both sides, but Blair failed to take advantage of the easy free-throw points, missing a whopping total of nine foul shots. "We lost this game by free throws, it's just something we have to focus on," Dubuche said. Fighting to keep the Bengals on a tight leash, Blair again relied on their solid rebounding, ending the half down just 25-23.

Blair exhibited a quick flash of strength and brilliance to start the second half as Melton hit a three giving Blair the lead, 26-25, for the first time all game. The Bengals aggressively responded as the game evolved into a back and forth tennis match of baskets. However, yet another series of missed foul shots forced the lead back into the ruthless Bengals, 35-32. But Melton was quick to revive Blair spirits as he sank another three with 8 seconds left boosting Blair 38-34 at the end of the quarter.

Desperate to contain the Bengals, Blair switched from zone to an effective man-to-man defense in the last quarter. Although Blake only managed to sneak in one two point shot, the Bengal's score continued to swell from the three three-pointers that secured their lead 47-41. Determined to not give in just yet, high-energy performances from Melton and junior Wayne Henderson brought the Blazers back at 49-47 with one minute left.

In the intense moment of a possible victory, Henderson made one foul throw bringing the score to an unbelievably close 49-48 deficit with five seconds left in the game. However, the Bengals snuck one last set of foul throws in, sending the Blazers back to the locker room with yet another close defeat, 50-48.

"I have never seen a season like this before with so many close games," said coach Mark DeStefano. "We're not as far off as our record shows, it is just frustrating to see that what is killing us on the court is within our reach."

Despite the familiar loss, players recognized weaknesses but still have hope to improve. "It was a tough loss but we still have confidence in ourselves to win," junior center Leon Sampson said.

Susie Branson. Key facts of Susie Branson: she's a junior in CAP, her favorite food is peanut butter, she plays soccer and lacrosse, she can't stand talking on the phone, loves country music, and her favorite ice cream is Phish Food. She is way too competitive for … More »

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